Why the title?

"Pioneers take the arrows"

Oh, wait. I should be upbeat and taking arrows doesn't sound like an upbeat thing to say.

So, let me amend that statement.

It was courage and vision that led the pioneers to leave behind a comfortable, settled life and trek West to begin a new life in a new place. Many of those from the East that went West found a strength within themselves that they didn't see while they were in their old life. Instead of being one of those that just kind of went along with the others in the old life, they became leaders and visionaries in their new lives.

The sentiments of that last paragraph come from a favorite author, Louis L'Amour, in many of his books. So, I can't really say that it is an original thought from me. However, what he said is truthful.

Welcome to being a pioneer. Look ahead and ignore the "barking dogs" that give you negative opinions and comments. Louis L'Amour also spoke of the barking dogs.

In some of his stories, it was usually a father or older man telling a young boy how it was that when the Westward bound Conestoga wagons rolled through towns, the dogs came out to bark at them. His character then told the young listener that the barking didn't stop the wagons from going on to their destinations.

Following the advice of the Louis L'Amour characters, may we all forge ahead with our plans, after carefully considering all consequences and leave the "barkers" behind.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

There’s the Pioneer Spirit in This Man

How can one write something about a man that one has never met, and the knowledge of whose very existence only came because of the reading of an RV forum? Why would one want to write of such a person? Is there something to gain from what little one can glean from the writing of that man’s own writing?

In this case, I certainly think there is and I’m going to do so because this man is proving to be an example, no, an inspiration to the rest of us. It is because he seems to be made up of the same stuff that the pioneers possessed.

If the reader has read the very header of this blog, you’ve read a reference to the attitude of some of the pioneers as they settled this land. The distractors and naysayers were ignored and those people, men and women alike, trekked to the frontier to begin a new life. In a sense, those following the RV’ing dream of traveling are similar in that they also left behind others to seek out a new dream.

Sadly, some of the early pioneers and settlers didn’t survive to reach their destinations. Some were lost to warring Indians, some to disease, but most were probably lost to accidents along the trails. The pioneer spirit led the survivors of those families and of those wagon trains to do the necessary thing of burying their lost loved ones along the trail and then moving on to fulfill their dreams.

Thus we come to the story of Alan and Joan Howeth, full-time RV’ers and participants of the RV Dreams forum family. Back on July 5, 2011, while rafting a river in Colorado, the raft that Alan and Joan were in was flipped, unfortunately leading to Joan’s death. Alan and Joan had been married for over 42 years.

Obviously, Alan first found things difficult, and that is to be expected. As I write this, Alan and his remaining family are in Oklahoma for Joan’s services. In reading Alan’s blog, his first posts after the accident were short and painful to read. But, as time has gone on, he has written longer pieces, which I think is good, as it helps in the healing process.

His latest post, written on July 13th gives me even more hope for Alan because he does seem to be healing and even considering getting back to the RV lifestyle. I have to say that is good, since the terrible accident came about because Alan and Joan had a love for the outdoors and were doing what it was they wanted to do. She was right there with him on that fateful day.

Like the pioneers, they forged ahead with their lives and were not deterred by the fact that the rafting was dangerous, or for that matter, any other adventures they undertook was as well. Now, after the tragedy, Alan goes on alone, but I’ll bet the spirit of Joan is right there with him. When he looks out over some beautiful panorama of nature, I’m sure he would have the tendency to say, “Take a look at that!” And, I’m sure that he is still sharing it all with Joan.

Now, Alan is picking up his life and looking ahead; only now he looks at life as a single man. He is following the advice of friends and is looking into an organization of single RV’ers with the intent of attending some of their events. Alan still has a good future, a loving family, and many friends in the RV world, plus an apparent deep appreciation of God and what He has created.

His spirit and fortitude is an inspiration to me. His strength should be an example that we all could strive to emulate should we suffer the same kind of loss that he has.

For Alan, I hope that God’s blessings continue to shower down upon him and that his future is bright and filled with promise.

Should my readers be interested, Alan’s blog is at this web address:


Dove and God Bless You


  1. Great post honoring Alan and Joan. I've never met them but look forward in catching up with Alan on the road somewhere in time.

    I believe most (if not all) full time RVers are driven by this same pioneering spirit.

  2. I came within a mouse click of deleting this post this morning. I wasn't sure that what I said might be offensive or hurtful to Alan and his family, should they have read it. However, I re-read it about five times and decided that it said what I wanted it to say; that being a complimentary series of comments.

    I am glad that those that I know to be caring people liked what I said. Thanks.

  3. Terry,
    I want to thank you for the kind workds you've written about my Mom and Dad. And Like you I feel that Dad is on the road to healing. I know that he will have moments like you said when he looks over and starts to say "Look at this!" or Look over there." And in that moment he will be saddend again at the reality that she is gone.

    I am very grateful that my Dad will have all of you, his "RVing Family" to sit and share all the wonderful memories that each of you has enjoyed.

    I am so grateful that you did not delete this, I was struggling today with the loss of my Mom, but this posted help me to remember all the fun that she would call and tell me they were having!

    Thanks again and I hope Dad has seen this!

    Carri J. Howeth-Warren (Daughter)

  4. Carri,

    Thank you. I have still struggled with whether I should have written this piece, but Alan's strength seems to come through, perhaps largely because of a belief in God, thus I felt the need to write it.

    I am so relieved that a member of the family likes what I wrote. In the past, I have written a number of "tributes" for relatives that were read at the funerals when they passed away. In a sense, this is my first for a non-family member. Since you have expressed an appreciation of it, I won't struggle with it any longer.

    Of course, we RV'ers kind of have our own family bond. Years ago, the radio commentator Glenn Beck spoke of his "special needs" daughter making a reference to the "Family of the Heart." When he asked her about the term, she answered that the "family of the heart" were those that came to be loved by the others. To this day, I refer to "blood families" being those that are related by blood and then mentioning that much larger family of the heart.

    In the past, there haven't been many blogs that I "Followed", but I will be with Alan's. After all, we have the same ties to Oklahoma. Jo and I live in our fifth wheel here in Oklahoma City and will so until we retire.

    God bless you and your entire family.

  5. Terry,

    I am Joan & Alan's Daughter In Law and I also read your blog.

    I too am glad that you posted it. What a beautiful tribute.

    I can't think of a better way to describe their life.

    I don't think you know how much your words have helped Alan & the rest of the family.

    Thank you so much & God Bless You!!!

  6. Jennifer,

    As with Carri, I can't thank you enough for contacting me. I really feel better that it is unlikely that what I wrote brought any pain to Alan or the rest of you.

    God bless you all. Being originally from Oklahoma (specifically Cimarron County in the Panhandle), I am well aware that Okies are a great people. You do the rest of us Okies proud.


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